Anti-conversion Bill 2013, MP, India

[ 0 ] July 13, 2013 |

Isai Maha Sangh Asks Governor Reject the Anti-conversion Bill 2013

india-flagBhopal:- 11/7/2013, Isai Maha Sangh(IMS) held a meeting of Christians and different organizations to express its  disagreements to the amendments made to the existing Anti-conversion Law in Madhya Pradesh Government . After detailed study report on the present Amendment Bill 2013, the descended Anti-conversion Bill of 2006 and the existing M.P Anti-conversion law of 1968, IMS sees the move as an effort by BJP lead Government to placate the Hindu organizations just before the elections. The BJP lead Government passed the Freedom of Religion Amendment Bill 2013 in the Assembly in a very quiet manner on 10 July, 2013 along with about twenty other Bills in about 20 minutes time.
The present Bill has provisions that prior to conversion the priest who takes part in the ceremony as performer of religious ceremony or participant will have to seek prior permission in a prescribed form set by the Government from the District Collector. It also makes compulsory for the person who gets converted to inform the District Magistrate. The Bill has provision to punish the violators of the same.
Fr. Anand Muttungal, Isai Maha Sangh coordinator, said, “ we do not object the right of the Government to enact a law but it should be in accordance with the Constitution of India and also there is no such an alarming situation in Madhya Pradesh about religion Conversions. The information that we received from different districts through RTI reveals that there has not been forced conversions in Madhya Pradesh. The present Bill has violated the provision in the Constitution of India Articles 19, 21 and 25.” Isai Maha Sangh President Sujit Williams has called on all peoples to reject the Bill. He has asked the district units protest the against Bill. He said, “we will be submitting memorandum to Governor in divisional headquarters in Madhya Pradesh. The Bill impinges the rights of people.”
Isai Maha Sangh General Secretary, Jerry Paul said, “ the present Bill is softer than the earlier one passed in the Assembly in 2006. It had clear provisions of investigation by the District Superintend of Police, if the clearance is obtained from police only conversion can be done. The constitutional validity was questioned and it was descended by the then President of India in 2009. If the governor goes along with the plans then we will approach the High Court to protect the rights of people.”
During the BJP rule there has been over hundred attacks against Christians in Madhya Pradesh and about 35 false cases of attempt to forced conversion has been registered in M.P of which two cases has been disposed as false cases.
The coordinator of secular movements against Anti-conversion Bill Mr. L S Herdenia said, “we have freedom to adopt any religion according to their conscience. We are uniting people to come together safe guard their rights enshrined in the Constitution. We will use all means including legal options to safeguard the Fundamental Rights.”
The Bill has also increased fine from one thousand to one lakh if the law is violated. Christians fear that this Bill will be misused by the fundamental organizations more ferociously than before. The Isai Maha Sangh that used its public contact programmes to keep dialogue with fundamental organization is also planning to call for open debate to communicate the basic principles of conversion in Christianity. Because the whole law is based on the misconception that forced conversion is permitted in Christianity. 
Father Anand Muttungal
Coordinator IMS
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